Checking Your Work: Attentiveness to Detail as a New Year Initiative

Restoring Success

January 6, 2022

It may be predictable, but there is something about a new year that inspires goal setting, resolutions and fresh visions. I have a personal list of things I plan to do to further develop myself in different ways: improving my effectiveness, efficiency and being more organized to name just a few.

The story of Santa, a toilet and a wrong phone number was told in “He’s Making a List” and emphasized the importance of “checking your work” with some tips for success.

My passion for “checking your work” on an individual and company level comes from the consequences I have observed, and experiences I have had, when this discipline is lacking. The concept applies to both our individual work habits and our company’s operational approach. We all make mistakes and even our best efforts may lead to errors.

We recently had a piece go out with a misspelled word. It was checked at least five times and our director of training operations proofs by reading things backwards to avoid missing a misspelled word. As a team, we missed it; it happens. Next, we examined the matter and developed our approach to checking. The program where the word resided was lacking editing tools; going forward, we will spell check in a different program with better editing capabilities.

Why such a fuss over one word? It is a reflection on our attention to detail. We are trainers and believe in setting an example in all we do. Is it possible that the 100 people who saw this error will think less of us? In the years of observing the fallout of not “checking your work” and being a designated checker, there seems to be a pattern of two possibilities: 1) gaining an understanding of how something could have been missed, versus 2) what seems to be a lack of care.

If you are still searching for a personal or companywide new year initiative, consider “checking your work.” Making progress on this can bring about great rewards. It is a very specific behavior of people who are highly conscientious, a trait consistently tied to positive performance. It is something that applies to all in the organization and can directly impact the credibility, effectiveness, efficiency and quality of service to others.

In addition to some of the tips offered in “He’s Making a List,” the following are considerations for the “check your work” initiatives in your organization:

  • Check your own work: It starts with ourselves. Whether rereading an email or examining our craftsmanship, we should establish habits to check our work, even if someone else will be reviewing it. Identify it as an important practice in our day-to-day work and coach those who may need to improve.
  • Provide training: Include steps that address “checking your work” during training. Do not assume. At Restoration Technical Institute, we incorporate this as a step in our training curriculum.
  • Measure and document outcomes: Whether in a standard of care, best practice or standard operating procedure, having a formalized process for certain types of work that includes a defined inspection and/or testing with supporting documentation of the outcome will give protection, as well as add to the credibility of the services delivered.
  • Be open to constructive feedback: It is important that when we check each other’s work and mistakes are made, identified and corrected, the spirit is positive. Avoid a potential debacle and treat it as an opportunity to do something better in the future.
  • Find a buddy: It is great to have buddies in the company to “check” everything from an estimate to a drywall job when you need fresh eyes.
  • Set clearly defined company expectations: It is difficult to check certain types of work without a clearly defined and communicated expectation. These expectations can be converted into checklists and quality control documents.
  • Establish clear assignment of responsibility: As a company, employ “checking” as a responsibility of a designated individual. For example, the “lead” on the job might be held responsible for checking the job site before leaving. Or, the marketing manager could be assigned the responsibility to check a mass email before it is distributed.
  • Formalized quality control processes and forms: There are certain tasks and/or job types that are suited for a formal quality control process with established control points. This provides consistency and is particularly helpful when there are many variables and/or details. Forms also provide documentation.

The Restoration Technical Institute is offering free access, through the end of January 2022, to our Audits, Inspections & Assessing course, designed to provide ideas and inspiration regarding inspecting, measuring outcomes and tools to help.

May “checking your work” bring you, the team and your company much Restoring Success.

Originally published at randrmagonline.com

RTI & LLM Press Release

RESTORATION TECHNICAL INSTITUTE  1145 Commons Blvd., Reading, PA 19605. • 610-926-0223 • info@rtilearning.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lisa Lavender, COO
December 15, 2021
Phone: 610-926-0223
Email: Lisa@RTILearning.com

Reading, PA, Restoration Technical Institute (RTI) and Cocoa Beach, FL, Large Loss Mastery (LLM) is pleased to announce our new strategic collaboration in education.

The organizations will join forces on the development and access to both live training events and eLearning. We are excited for the opportunity to work together, and we look forward to more collaborations in the future.

The synergy exists in the sharing of values and approaches in training. The experiences, existing curriculums, and opportunity for future curriculum development makes this collaboration an exciting opportunity for both organizations to expand its offerings and services to the industry at large. Tom McGuire, Large Loss Mastery, has an extensive background in commercial disaster restoration and document recovery. He has developed successful training programs focused on the recovery of properties damaged by fires, floods, and other natural disasters. Chuck Boutall, RTI’s Director of Education, shares a similar background and has been lead instructor of the IICRC Commercial Drying Specialist course and was instrumental in the development of the curriculum. RTI and LLM have over 100 years combined experience in restoration and training supporting the delivery of practical and applicable programs.

LLM’s existing programs which include but are not limited to: Business Development, Project Management, Estimating, and Document Recovery are a perfect complement to RTI’s diverse courses and content on topics including but not limited to: water damage and intrusion, flooring and substrates, microbial remediation, cleaning, building materials, construction, soft skills, and other training related to building services. RTI’s commercial hands-on training center supports in-person training in addition to a platform that offers timely eLearning. The efforts will launch with LLM’s Project Management Essentials and Document Recovery Courses offered in RTI’s digital training environment as eLearning and is followed by one of LLM’s most popular courses, the live handson ELITE Super Course featuring THE EDGE PLUS at RTI’s training center in October 2022.

“I have known Tom for more than two decades and it is our privilege to be working with him and LLM, offering excellent classes in Estimating and the Management of large commercial projects,” said Chuck Boutall, Director of Education.

“I am very excited to be able to offer the Large Loss Mastery ELITE training program on the robust RTI training platform. Bringing the live LLM ELITE Super Course and THE EDGE PLUS estimating system to the Greater Philadelphia Area and the RTI training facility will be the highlight of the 2022 training schedule. It is wonderful to have high quality people working together to expand educational platforms to better serve the ever-growing restoration industry. I couldn’t be happier, and I look forward to more collaborations with RTI as the Large Loss Mastery Program continues to grow, ” said Tom McGuire, LLM.

The opportunities to work together extends beyond training programs as both organizations are affiliated with cloud-based tools that support restorers in their operations. Tom has developed, THE EDGE PLUS, a one of a kind estimating tool based on 35 years of project information and statistics. Designed to accurately calculate budget, reserve, billable, project costs in less than 30 minutes. Lisa Lavender, COO of RTI is also the VP of Operations Design for iRestore, a cloud-based management software system designed specifically to power the vision, values, and leadership of restoration companies.

About Restoration Technical Institute:

Since 2012, Restoration Technical Institute has been an approved IICRC school that provides world-class training designed for those who serve the restoration, cleaning, and industries related to the built environment. Offering three ways to learn through a digital training solution, live classes, and self-paced eLearning we provide knowledge, passion, and inspiration for the success of individuals and companies. We promote the application of Standards of Care, process, and best practices. We believe in inspiring happiness, pride, and innovation in others. 

About Large Loss Mastery:

The Large Loss Mastery training program was created in 2015 by Thomas McGuire, owner: The Solutions Company, LLC, with the goal of offering restoration professionals solutions to complex management issues. By utilizing industry “best practices” based on over 35 years of experience and proven techniques, Large Loss Mastery provides training to all professionals seeking to close the gaps in their business and management procedures. Focusing on the industry best practices for, estimating, contracting, scoping, critical path management, commercial drying and complex project management, Large Loss Mastery provides users with the information and techniques needed to answer the questions of What if something happens? How much will it cost? and how long will it take? With the addition of THE EDGE PLUS estimating system Large Loss Mastery offers a full line of estimating and management solutions for industry professionals.

The Motivation Paradigm

restoration business management

Photo credit: eclipse_images/e+ via Getty Images

Lisa Lavender, M.T.R., M.F.S.R., M.W.R. and Stephanie Beattie

Ultimately, successful outcomes require a combination of leadership and management.

Management is a relatively easy concept to grasp as, by its literal definition, it means the process of controlling things, processes or people to a desired outcome. Leadership is more complex and abstract, and there are almost as many definitions of it as there are articles about it. We offer the definition presented by Kevin Kruse in What is Leadership?, published by Forbes in 2013: “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of other, towards the achievement of a goal.”

There is a common element when it comes to managing or leading people. We are trying to get people to do something. It may be to engage in the purpose of the organization, or it may be a task like updating a job file. At this point, there are endless ideas to consider, podcasts to listen to, riveting conversations to be had and materials to read. However, let’s consider the notion that a key element of either leading or managing a person involves an understanding of their motivation.

Motivation refers to the desire, willingness or drive of an individual to accomplish something. We have all probably said at one time or another, “He is not motivated” or “She is highly motivated.” It is not uncommon to see a resume that starts out with, “I am a highly motivated…”

How often have we asked a person, “What motivates you?” Have we ever asked ourselves, “I wonder what motivates him/her?” Many of us may not truly understand what motivates us, or others. We need to look at this from a different point of view. What is the behavior connected to someone’s reason for doing something?

The motivation paradigm is described as the reasons we do the things we do in the manner we do them. Over the years, I have taken the position that money does not motivate, nor is it necessarily an effective tool that creates desired outcomes. Appreciation ranks higher than money, believe it or not, when it comes to motivation. Why? Employees would rather work for a company that values and appreciates them than earn more money. The money isn’t enough if you work for a company that you don’t feel connected to.

To gain a better understanding of how money fits in and what research shows about the motivational power of autonomy, mastery and purpose, you may want to watch The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. When we consider the power of autonomy, freedom and self-direction, we may better understand some of the findings that show an increase in productivity for many who work at home. For example, “When employers grant the freedom of the home office, employees reward this trust with hard work,” Matt Munro writes.

The insights about the increase in productivity of those working at home allow us to take things further. As we embark on leading and managing people, what if we could understand what truly motivates our individual team members? Could it modify or improve the way we manage and lead them? You may already have seen or heard of some personality analysis tools. I recently had the privilege to learn more about motivation and the tools available to help us motivate others from Stephanie Beattie, CEO of the Center for Disaster Recovery.

Stephanie is a certified practitioner in Motivation Factor. This assessment tool unlocks and ignites the specifics – things we should focus on and things we should not. It provides awareness to know what moves us forward and what holds us back. It specifically determines what we need and where our talents can be used in organizations to propel leadership and production. She has seen that a motivated employee with core competencies correlates with high performance day in and day out. I asked Stephanie to share with our readers some insights. Her knowledge and passion were powerful as she began to explain the dynamics and the how to harness it.

Q. What do we not know about motivation?  

We often do not know that components of our individual motivation are directly impacted by things that drain each of us. An energy drainer occurs when your life circumstances do not match your expectations. We don’t consider that something is impacting the employee, friend or co-worker and their ability to maintain continuous motivation.

Q. What are the main categories of motivation?  

  1. Intrinsic motivation: How well we use our talents to support our role or contribute to the success of the company or project.
  2. Motivation capability: How motivated the person is to get up and do their job daily; this is specifically connected to our energy drainers.
  3. Strategic connection: If an employee is not connected to the business, it is usually due to their lack of understanding of the company vision, mission and goals.

Q. How can we harness and engage people based on their motivation?  

It is important to know what their actual needs and talents are. Consider this:

  • If you have a need for personal power, this can mean that you want to have an impact on things. Being able to influence your circumstances is most likely crucial for you. You may dislike apathy and be frustrated by “victim” mentality.
  • If you have talent to win, this can mean you love competition, a sense of victory, achieving perfection or accomplishment. You may feel particularly fueled by being the best you can be.
  • If you have a need to be heard, this can mean you feel a natural urge to contribute your thoughts, ideas and opinions. You may feel frustrated when others don’t listen or if you don’t have an opportunity to voice your thoughts.

This information and understanding allows us to work more cohesively with the individual and assist them in their motivation. Remember: If we focus on supporting one’s needs while using their talents, we can harness the power of performance, production and fulfillment. Motivated staff are happier, speak positively about the company they work for and will enthusiastically be part of a company that supports them to the highest level.

May harnessing the power of motivating others bring you continued Restoring Success.

Originally Published in R&R Magazine

Finding and Retaining Staff For Your Restoration Company in 2022

restoration company crmThe restoration industry is poised for continued growth this year; quality contractors’ phones will be ringing off the hook. Increased weather related damage, an aging inventory of residential and commercial properties, and better insurance coverages continue to create opportunities. Well positioned small, medium and larger companies have ample opportunities to find their niche in the restoration world.

As a restoration company, you may also face many challenges in the next year including material price increases, continuing supply-chain disruptions, and inflation. But the most difficult to tackle right now is labor.

Implementing a Restoration Company CRM

Lots Of Movement

People leave their jobs for a variety of reasons: a need for a better work-life balance, new career opportunities, higher pay, burnout, health and family reasons. And for customer teams, unfair compensation, unreasonable workload and inefficient tools cause frustration and dissatisfaction. 

The average rate of turnover among all companies in the US is almost 60%. More than half the workforce are either voluntarily leaving their jobs or being terminated; a quarter of all workers quit their jobs last year. This is 12% higher than 2019, likely a result of COVID-19-related layoffs.

And as the “Great Resignation” is expected to continue, restoration companies will continue to be challenged. In the latest report from The Farnsworth Group, 45% of residential contractors reported labor shortages in October 2021. This fourth quarter is expected to close with even more pressure to find good employees. The trades that require the most expertise and licensing will continue to be hardest to fill. So where will you look?  

Filling The Pipeline

Keep actively looking for new talent. Most restoration companies have trouble attracting candidates with experience. Trade schools have had decreased graduates due to less teachers and COVID restrictions. Your best bet is to look outside the usual circles for employees that can work your key hours. 

“The Skilled Trades Alliance,” “Rock the Trades” and “Bring Back the Trades” are organizations that promote and advance the trades. Get involved with other local organizations with an untapped talent pool: alternative high schools, moms reentering the workforce, veterans, etc.

Retain And Train Your Talent

What can employers do to slow attrition? Create a culture of improvement. New hires need hands-on experience to absorb skills while they train. Develop workshops, show them technical expertise, and give immediate and constructive feedback. Motivate and reward the experienced staff to mentor new employees.

Quality candidates realize that training in a solid industry is as important as current compensation; they are looking for stability and opportunity for future growth. A culture-rich work environment offers an exceptional employee experience for improvement. This mindset results in higher productivity, performance, and retention. 

Identify your most important teams and take targeted actions to support these workers. Create opportunities for all employees to be rewarded for profitable and effective suggestions that improve the customer experience. Ask them for best practices to improve the organization. Solicit feedback with open ended questions. Communicate the key findings to employees.

Then reward good ideas. Quickly turn insights into action that improve workflow. 

Providing superior tools and processes is another way to get those good performers satisfied. When the tools improve the workflow instead of impeding it, new talent can quickly get up to speed and your “high flyers” can soar.  

iRestore Restoration Management Software

Owners that can take steps to build and retain talented teams. You need more than good quality cleaning equipment, you need a plan. By maximizing your staff’s time and talents, key employees are empowered to build a successful restoration company. 

iRestore is a complete customer service management solution. We can help your customer service team members be more successful in their roles. Call us or request a demonstration of how you can set up an effective CRM for your restoration company.

Some Things Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: Restoration Edition

innovations in restoration
Photo credit: breakermaximus/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images.

Lisa Lavender, M.T.R., M.F.S.R., M.W.R.

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.” –Abraham Maslow

As trainers, this quote is very powerful as it speaks to our skills, abilities, processes, technology, tools, equipment and supplies. It reminds us that we must constantly be evaluating new developments and offerings that are evolving at a rapid pace so that we can improve and advance our operations.

Employing anything new should be a conscious effort. We are offering some tips on deploying new initiatives to your organization and some of our favorite things:  old, new, borrowed and blue.

This piece is a collaboration of Lisa Lavender, COO, Chuck Boutall, director of education, and John Perella, curriculum developer & trainer, with Restoration Technical Institute (RTI).

Lisa’s Light-Bulb Moment:

I recall a very specific moment when I was introduced to a new technology. I was excited to implement it in our organization. I went to a co-worker and explained enthusiastically what I wanted to buy and what it could do. He engaged me in positive dialogue and articulated to me why the cost of implementation would exceed the value. He went on to say, “Did you think about all the pieces?” I did an informal analysis in my mind, set aside my emotions and realized that it was not in our best interest to move forward.

Next, the years of what I will refer to as emotional purchasing (the management of things collecting dust or simply not providing the intended value) began to run through my head. We must be deliberate in our approach to deploying anything new!

For some, one of the most exciting aspects of the industry is the constant evolution of technology, tools and equipment, a.k.a “toys.” Employing new things can bring value in many ways, including but not limited to:

  1. Improved efficiency and expansion of capacity
  2. Enhancement of service and quality to those being served

Before jumping in and thinking, “Wow! That is cool! I want it! We can use it,” we offer the following tips and considerations:

  • Evaluating and implementing an innovation should be a specific, defined function assigned to a member or members of your team. The function should have a clearly defined expectation. A timeline for deployment should be part of the clearly defined expectation.
  • Always take a cost-versus-benefit approach. Be objective; it is easy to be overcome by excitement and vision, and lose focus on facts.
  • Consider all things that relate to anything new:
    • Communicating to team: Did you ever hear a team member say, “I did not know we have that”?
    • Accessibility
    • Training
    • Updating: Inventories, systems, SOPs, supply lists, etc.
    • If applicable: Storage, maintenance, repairs, etc.
    • Communication of the value added to those you serve
  • Develop and/or use a standardized evaluation form or process:  For example, from learning the “hard way” when applicable, ask, “How are we going to keep track and inventory all the pieces?” (See “Plan for the pieces infographic below)
  • Gather input from the end-users. For example, if it is something that a technician in the field will utilize, listen to their feedback and engage them.
Plan for the Pieces

And now we present some of our favorite things: Some things old, some things new, some things borrowed and something blue.  

Although this is rooted in a tradition for new brides of which the origins are thought to date back to 19th-century England, we have adapted the meanings for our industry.  

Some things old: To keep us grounded in our past and connect us to a bright future

There is an endless list of tools, technology supplies, etc. These items are both industry-specific and have broad applications, and we think they are great to have in your inventory.

Dust-collection tools, used in a variety of applications, from sanding to sawing.

  • Used For: Construction, water mitigation and more.
  • Why we like it: Improve efficiencies and results by deploying these tools. They may reduce the need for containment in dust control, cleanup efforts, and mitigate the potential of secondary issues to the structure and contents.

Self-dispensing cleaning tools, like a bucket-less mop.

  • Used for: Cleaning floors, windows and more.
  • Why we like it: Efficiency can immediately be improved. You can be more nimble while doing the related tasks as your tools and solutions are all self-contained. Depending on the task at hand, you can also improve quality.

We also point you to what remain some of our favorite “old” things presented in 2017, Restoring Success, The Odd Ball Tools in a Restorer’s Toolbox.

Some things new: Optimism for what lies ahead

For the early adopters, we found some great new things at The Experience in September 2021 that got our attention. 

Phoenix Focus II Dual Axial, spreading the air with power

  • Used for: Ventilation and restorative drying.
  • Why we like it: It provides a lot of air (1,000+ CFM) and needs only 1.1 amps. It is small and lightweight, making it easy to move, clean and store. It allows us to maximize the use of space in the warehouse and vehicles. Dual-focused fans offer great dispersion of airflow.
Phoenix Focus II Dual Axial
Left to Right: Lisa Lavender, Larry Carlson (2021 Industry Icon Award winner), Chuck Boutall, Jeanne Boutall and Kerry Mayeur. Photo courtesy RTI

Inflatable containment by Airwall; you must blow it up to contain it in

  • Used for: A wide variety of scenarios and applications, including but not limited to: Source removal; general demolition; containment of dust, debris and contaminates.
  • Why we like it: It is much faster and easier to deploy than your typical containment system.
Inflatable containment by Airwall
Sara Raley from J.S. Held and Chuck Boutall from RTI ask questions about new containment system for our industry. Photo courtesy RTI

Hose cleaner by Frosty’s Innovations. Does the snowman know?

  • Used for: Cleaning vacuum hoses.
  • Why we like it: Super-fast and easy way to decontaminate vacuum hoses used in cleaning, extraction and other endeavors. 
Hose Cleaner
Shane Frost demonstrates the simplicity of keeping your hoses clean for more efficient airflow, and smelling great. Photo courtesy RTI

Relax Saunas’ Spa. Heat up and purge out just in time for the holidays!

  • Used for: Removing contaminants from the human body…
  • Why we like it: The infrared light and heat feels good. During the session, Chuck received a great sweat-out and purging of the lymph system, and he left feeling rejuvenated! Just what a restorer needs. 
Relax Saunas’ Spa
Patrick Moffit and Dave Keiter discuss whether to let Chuck out or not! Photo courtesy RTI

Restoration of facial skin by Lola Soap. Facial restorer; look your best while you perform your best.

  • Used for: Wrinkle removal! Do I need to say more if you’re over 40?
  • Why we like it: It seems to work very well, some of us were accused of having cosmetic work done in Vegas! Designed to rebuild collagen.

KleenRite PumpOut Shield, to attach to the top of toilets.

  • Used for: Easily discharging water from the pump out of portable carpet cleaning or water extraction units to the sanitary sewer system.
  • Why we like it: If you’ve ever extracted a room of carpet, then walked into the bathroom to only discover that your discharge hose came out of the toilet or tub and deposited all the water into the bathroom, you’ll understand.
KleenRite PumpOut Shield
Chuck Boutall and Mark Exner say “Toilette.” Photo courtesy RTI

LiDAR technology: We were made aware of this technology from industry friend Cory Graves, Restoration 1, who remains on top and ahead of technology. It is important to network in the industry and share ideas.

  • Used for: In our industry, it is being offered in some of the new generation of devices, and is being integrated in applications for measuring and sketching spaces.
  • Why we like it: It allows us to improve both the quality and efficiency in gathering important information in the field when combined with easy-to-use-and-deploy applications.

Some things borrowed: To bring good fortune and luck

Once you have gone through the evaluation process, you may have concluded that it is better to borrow, i.e., rent. Whether you own these things are not, there are some things that you may always be ready to rent.

Generators

  • Used for: Standby, temporary and emergency power.
  • Why we borrow it: Generators are expensive and seldom used in our industry on a regular basis. With a high capital outlay and maintenance costs, they also require specialized skills and peripherals when utilizing on the job. When you rent, you can typically get support on the specialized skills and setup needs.

Large climate-control equipment

  • Used for: A wide variety of scenarios and applications including but not limited to planned outages, permanent system upgrades, construction drying and water damage restoration.
  • Why we borrow it: Like generators, they require a high capital outlay, often have low usage rates, and require highly skilled and experienced staff to use effectively. Storage and maintenance of these types of units may also present challenges.

Specialty surface preparation and cleaning equipment

  • Used for: Source removal, coatings removal, material removal and more.
  • Why we borrow it: In addition to the previously mentioned considerations of investment, skills and usage rates, for those who do not use this type of equipment on a regular basis or as part of your core business, it is a tool in the toolbox that is often best to rent. From the perspective of a restorer who encounters a wide range of scenarios, renting this type of equipment gives you the ability to evaluate the optimal equipment and approach for each individual project.

Something Blue: To ward off misfortune 

Because we must finish with something blue… 

Makita cordless cut-out saw with dust control options

  • Used for: Endless applications, but imagine having this ready to go on a water loss.
  • Why we like it: The ease and efficiency of cutting drywall on a water loss and the price point make this a great tool to keep in the arsenal.

As you embrace the old, new, borrowed and blue available to the industry, we hope it brings you much Restoring Success.

Originally published in R&R Magazine